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Plaid Cymru still want independent Wales

By This is SouthWales  |  Posted: September 11, 2008

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A SENIOR Plaid Cymru AM today spelled out her party’s continuing support for an independent Wales.

Rural Affairs Minister Elin Jones kicked off Plaid’s annual conference by pledging to uphold the goal of making Wales an EU member state.

She told delegates in Aberystwyth that the nationalists would not water down their commitment to independence under the coalition with Labour.

Sharing power might mean the party had to make compromises, but it would not compromise on its long-term ambitions, she said.

After years of keeping the issue off the agenda, Plaid bosses are now preparing a campaign to talk up the idea of an independent Wales.

The coalition Assembly Government has set up a convention to examine the possibility of winning a referendum on Scottish-style law-making powers by 2011.

Ms Jones told reporters that Wales would only go it alone after a referendum.

“It will be the people of Wales who will decide when and if Wales becomes a full member state of the European Union,” she said.

“I’m not going to put any money on when that referendum would be.

“It can’t be forced down the throats of the people of Wales. Neither can it be denied that the people of Wales have a right to vote and express a view on Welsh independence if and when that happens.”

She described her party as “two-jobs Plaid Cymru”, saying: “We are profoundly different from the UK parties in that we care about the here and now for Wales and we also have a long-term aspiration for our nation.”

In her speech to delegates, she said only Plaid could stand up for the interests of Wales, unlike the three “London-based parties” of Labour, the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats.

She said the nationalists were no longer a single-issue protest movement and had matured into a modern party that was setting a new agenda in Welsh politics.

“People now see us as responsible enough to trust with running their education, social services and transport services.”

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    Ran Away, Escaped from Wales  |  September 15 2008, 9:54PM

    Cant wait to see the mess the 3rd rate politicians in their Cardiff HQ would make of Wales if they had any real power. ps. If you're going to quote figures about Irish GDP relative to that of the UK please make it accurate, or rather dont make it up!!! I will laugh my socks of if Wales were made independent. I am sure the call centre industry will keep it going for a few months but then what? Back down the pits boys!!!

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    Jim Dunckley, Gorseinon  |  September 12 2008, 10:59PM

    Good luck with your enquiries, but I should say that it's UK taxpayers money that pays for the power stations - when they were still public utilities anyway. As privatised companies the companies will pass on the cost of new power stations via our electricity bills, which in S. Wales are amongst the highest in the UK. This is because the National Grid splits Wales in two, and North Wales exports it's large surplus to the Northeast of England, rather than to south wales. Some useful info on this blog link here; www.thebigwelshgasproject.blogspot.com

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    John Evans, neath  |  September 12 2008, 3:40PM

    To those who say how is wales going to pay it's way. I would reply in the same way the republic of Ireland pay's its way. Back in 1921 most English said the Irish would stave to death. today over 80 years later the GDP of Ireland is 50% grater than that of the UK.

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    mark, Swansea.  |  September 12 2008, 1:58PM

    Thanks for the reply. It was illuminating, I'm going to try to look further into the actual economics of the power generation, just having the plants doesn't necessarily pay to run them on our own, plus, I'm sure the English Taxpayers would want to see some return for the investment they'd put into our Power Stations. On the Energy Generation issue, I'd agree that the the sooner we diversify our power generation sources, the better.

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    Jim Dunckley, Gorseinon  |  September 12 2008, 1:57PM

    Couple of points in response to Mark's query re. gas. We currently bring in gas from the North Sea and Norway, so it's not supplied by England as such, as it's actually in Scottish and Norwegian waters. But we will soon be importing gas as LNG via ship from the Middle East and other parts of the world. This gas will be piped across Wales (from Milford Haven) and is mostly to satisfy demand in England. If we were an independent country then we could charge "transit fees" for the transport of this gas. This is common European practice and would net us an income of tens of millions of pounds per year.

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    Jane, Swansea  |  September 12 2008, 1:31PM

    Mark, sorry I didn't answer your query regarding electricity generation/useage. According to figures widely available from official sources, in 2004 we produced 9% of Britain's electricity and yet used only 6.7%. The remainder was "exported" to England. Bring on the Severn Barrage!

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    Jane, Swansea  |  September 12 2008, 1:21PM

    Further to my recent comments a very recent report in a Welsh national newspaper stated that South Wales has huge resources of commercially viable methane within the South Wales coalfield area. It appears that Margam is a key area for both gas and the distict possibility of a new coalmining venture. The coal would doubtless be of great interest to local heavy industry - can you imagine the money saved by not transporting coal across the World. I only hope that if this comes to pass, the benefits are kept for the Welsh this time, not passed across the border.

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    mark, swansea  |  September 12 2008, 12:27PM

    I was very interested to hear Jane's comment that Wales is self-sfficient in electricity. I wasn't aware of this and I'm interested to know how it's calculated, not in a sarky way, but out of general interest. Could Wales afford to buy in the gas that generates most of our energy without English subsidisation or purchases from England? Are we sufficient in renewable energy or alternate power sources? If we are, that would make me a bit less worried about things in general. As for coal, re-opening the mines will, I imagine, cost an enourmous initial outlay, would Wales be able to find the money to exploit this resource on our own or would the money still end up flowing to English Companies? I still doubt that Independence is really feasible as we are in many ways inextricably linked to the rest of the United Kingdom. My main fear about Plaid's push for Independence is that it would be a platform for the aggrandizement of petty politicians and civil servants who wish the status of being leaders of a "nation" regardless of how that would affect the well-being of the population.

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    Jane, Swansea  |  September 12 2008, 11:54AM

    I would like to see an independent Wales. We are self sufficient in electricity. Indeed we are in surplus as far as electricity is concerned. We provide the water for both Birmingham and Liverpool. We have good reliable sources of income. Added to which coal is now making a comeback as the worldwide price is so high the powers that be have decided that South Wales still has reserves which are worth mining. What I do not want to see is Plaid Cyrmu driving the independence. Their ability to lead anything is questionable. I see no politicians of that party as having enough strategic planning abililty to lead us successfully.

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    Gerald Jones, Caerphilly  |  September 12 2008, 10:56AM

    So Plaid Cymru want to talk up independence. Is that really a surprise? Of course not. It has always been their long term ambition. Well, let's have the debate. I am interested to know just how the Nationalists intend to pay for an independent Wales. I believe that we in Wales are patriotic and long may that continue but the vast majority do not share the nationalist and separatist ideals of Plaid Cymru. So let's have the debate and put this pipe dream to bed once and for all.

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